A project to revive the waiting rooms and redundant wooden buildings at Haltwhistle Railway Station has seen work start. This is the biggest project that the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership has led and will create vastly improved waiting areas for passengers and new studio and office space.
Julie Gibbon, the Partnership’s Company Secretary and Projects Director has been instrumental in engaging with rail industry partners and has driven the necessary preliminary work for work to begin on site.
Julie said, “It is very exciting to see this project starting and becoming a reality”. Julie, who was awarded Outstanding Voluntary Contribution at the 2019 Community Rail Awards, has worked with a range of partners in the rail industry to ensure that the £500,000 project was grant funded. The aim is to completely refurbish both buildings, which will result in improved waiting areas, a welcome to the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall, and small units available for rent by small businesses and artists. “We would like to see these units used by businesses who are happy to interact and welcome visitors to Haltwhistle, which is a great small town with so much to offer” Julie added.
The work will transform the current drab buildings (as shown on the left) and bring those areas currently out of use back to life. Both are over 100 years old and since the 1960's, part of the buildings have been unused and have deteriorated.
The image on the right is the artist's impression of the completed building on Platform 2 (towards Carlisle).
The project has been supported by industry partners, Northern, Network Rail, Railway Heritage Trust, Community Rail Network, CrossCountry Trains, TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast.
Some two and a half years since the concept was floated, the project has required dedication, vision and some tenacity in obtaining rail industry support, acquring the necessary funding packages and dealing with the myriad of environmental and technical issues a project of this size attracts.
Anna Weeks, CrossCountry Regional Director for the North East and Scotland commented “CrossCountry have been a long-term supporter of Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership and are pleased to be able to support the restoration of the waiting room. It’s a project that sits within the heart of the Haltwhistle community and will definitely enhance the experience for thousands of passengers that travel from across the country to visit every year”.
Even with the country being in a state of lock down, working and planning continues. Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (TVCRP) recently held its first online feedback of the Lyric & Line project, which has seen singer and songwriter Gareth Davies-Jones working with three groups with additional needs, using music and songwriting to facilitate experiences of rail travel. The pilot project was funded from TVCRP’s resources and it is hoped that using music to facilitate communities’ voice will continue.
At this time of difficulty with Coronavirus, when all face to face meetings are cancelled, Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership (TVCRP) have had the opportunity to have achievements recognised. They have become the first community rail partnership to achieve Re-Accreditation in a virtual meeting.